New clubs, sponsor spur Jeev to second place

May 31st, 2008 - 12:15 pm ICT by admin  

Newport (Wales), May 31 (IANS) Jeev Milkha Singh, hitting the course with a new set of clubs and brand new sponsor whose name rhymes well with the tournament title - the Celtic Manor Wales Open, powered his way to a three-under 68 and tied second place at nine-under 133 at the midway stage. Jeev, who was tied third, improved Friday by one spot and is looking for his first win in 18 months after having finished second twice this season. The former Asian Tour No.1 and winner of the Volvo Masters of Europe fired five birdies, including one on the 18th. He also had two bogeys.

But things were not as good for Jeev’s fellow Indians, all of whom missed the halfway cut. Jyoti Randhawa, fifth last week at the BMW PGA Championships who has a one-over 72 in first round, shot a one-under 70, but at a total of even par, he was one short of the cut line which came at one-under.

Also missing the cut by one shot was Shiv Kapur, who had rounds of 73 and 69, while S.S.P. Chowrasia missed the cut by two shots with rounds of 72 and 71.

Jeev is, however, four shots behind runaway leader Scott Strange who continued his superb golf. The 30-year-old Australian continued to set the pace after adding a 66 for a 13 under par total of 129 to open up a four shot lead over Jeev and the English duo of Benn Barham and Robert Dinwiddie, and Spain’s Alvaro Velasco.

Strange, a two-time winner on Asian Tour, grabbed the halfway headlines with his brilliant 13-under 36 hole aggregate.

It rained quite hard overnight and as a result of that the course played long.

“I am pretty satisfied. I played really solid today, but I didn’t hole as many putts as yesterday (first round), but 68 is not too bad on this golf course. It was playing long again. I think it rained quite hard last night. I’m in a good position and looking forward to the next two days,” said Jeev, who missed the cut last week.

Jeev birdied the second, but gave that shot back on third and then turned in one-under with a birdie on sixth. A bogey on tenth saw him fall to even par, but like first day he had a fine back stretch with birdies on 11th, 14th and 18th.

On his new set of clubs, Jeev said: “I tried the Callaway Fusions, and I tried them on the driving range and was going to dry them in the Pro-Am but the Pro-Am got cancelled and I thought, you know, the feeling is good, I might as well use it in the tournament. That’s what I did and went will and I felt really good with the irons and so far so good.”

Jeev also seemed to be celebrating a new sponsor, steel company Panceltica.

“Yes, it’s one of the steel companies from Qatar. They are going to do a lot of business in India. As you know there’s a lot of construction going on in India, and they are breaking ground in India and they took me on board,” said Jeev.

Admitting that a good Indian meal the previous night put him a in great mood, Jeev was happy with the way he finished the second round.

“It (last hole) was really pleasing and I felt really good about it. As it came off the clubface I knew the ball is going to spin. That’s what I was trying to do, and a player when he can execute a shot that he planned and does it, he feels good about it.

“It doesn’t happen too often, and when it happens, you feel good and you know the ball is going to spin and I was telling the ball to spin and it did. So when the ball is listening to you, it’s a good sign,” he said.

The tournament is being played on The Twenty Ten Course which will be used for the Ryder Cup in 2010. The course has nine new holes and nine old ones.

Robert Karlsson, the 2006 Celtic Manor Wales Open champion, will go into the weekend looking to better his three consecutive third place finishes in his last three appearances on The European Tour International Schedule.

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